Jeff Bezos honoured as NASA taps Blue Origin to build moon lander
NASA's choice Blue Origin gives it a second option for sending people to the moon through its Artemis programme.
Table of Contents (Show / Hide)
Blue Origin has won a $3.4 billion contract from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to develop a spacecraft to transport astronauts to and from the moon's surface.
The US space agency's announcement on Friday (May 19) came as a breakthrough for the company, founded by Jeff Bezos, two years after Elon Musk's SpaceX was awarded the same contract to ferry astronauts.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said, "Today we are excited to announce Blue Origin will build a human landing system as NASA’s second provider to deliver Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface."
"We are in a golden age of human spaceflight, which is made possible by NASA’s commercial and international partnerships. Together, we are making an investment in the infrastructure that will pave the way to land the first astronauts on Mars," Nelson added.
Bezos said on Twitter that he was "honored to be on this journey with @NASA to land astronauts on the Moon - this time to stay."
Blue Origin intends to build its 52-foot tall Blue Moon lander in collaboration with Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co, Draper Software, and Astrobotic Robotics.
The aerospace and space exploration company was chosen by NASA over a rival offer led by Leidos Inc-owned defence contractor Dynetics, which also included Northrop Grumman Corp.
NASA's choice of Bezos and Blue Origin gives it a second option for sending people to the moon through its Artemis programme.
Previously, NASA gave SpaceX $3 billion in 2021 to develop the Starship spacecraft, which is expected to put astronauts on the moon's surface for the first time since the final Apollo mission in 1972.
Why another human landing system partner?
While announcing the contract at NASA's headquarters, the administrator Bill Nelson said at an event, "I've said it before: we want more competition, we want two landers, and that's better."
"It means that you have reliability, you have backups," he added. NASA has said that adding another human landing system partner will increase competition, and reduce costs to taxpayers.
NASA has chosen Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, to create a human landing system for the agency's Artemis V mission to the moon.
The space agency will explore more of the moon than ever before with Artemis, making more scientific discoveries and preparing for future astronaut expeditions to Mars.
Reports have mentioned that Blue Origin plans to use its New Glenn rocket, which has never flown before, to launch both its lander and this refuelling shuttle.
Artemis 4 is scheduled for 2028, and Artemis 5 a year later will both land on the moon, but will first pass through a new space station in lunar orbit, called Gateway, which has yet to be constructed.
This is an independent news agency. We are a group of free and independent journalists from around the world who together try to revive human rights. Our mission is to investigate and provide the news and events happening around to reveal truth to you in seven living languages of the world.